If you want to stand out from the crowd, give people a reason not to forget you ~ Richard Branson
I have said it many times that being the best at what you do is not always going to equate to success in the federal marketplace. Reason being, you are most likely not the only business who provides that service or sells the goods that you do. You will need to do more in order to get the work you are seeking. How you differentiate yourself from your competition will provide better insight to your customers of why they should choose you. Let’s look at some ways you can set yourself apart and generate some opportunities for your GovCon!
Knowing where to start
Even though the federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world that doesn’t mean every agency is going to be in the market for your business. You will need to research both government agencies and Prime contractors and really get a good understanding of their mission and the services and goods they purchase to support their projects to know for sure if you are a fit. Just because you think you are the best and you’re not afraid to shout it from the rooftops doesn’t mean anyone else is going to care.
By researching where you are best suited, and further researching the goals of that customer, you will be better able to position what you do best within a context that makes sense to them. Your capabilities statement is not enough. You have to know who specifically will want what you provide, and know how to properly convey why what you do should matter to them. You are presenting yourself as the best solution to a known problem. This will position you as a subject matter expert even if they are not previously familiar with you. And that is a good segue to the next suggestion: make sure the agencies know who you are.
Market your business
It is not going to be easy to win contract work with an agency that doesn’t know who you are. You will need to find a way to gain brand recognition with your desired buyers so when you submit a proposal they have a familiarity with you that will encourage them to want to choose you. An easy way to find out who the right people are once you determine the agencies best suited for your business is to connect and interact with them on LinkedIn. According to a census created by renowned LinkedIn marketing expert, Mark Amtower, aka, “The Godfather”, “over 2.5 million feds (Defense Department, Intelligence, civilian) are on LinkedIn.” […] He has “identified 552 ‘company’ pages for feds, meaning that departments and agencies have company pages, as well as most operating divisions and many offices. This makes finding key influencers much easier.”
Start following them on LinkedIn. Watch their webinars and comment on them. Interact in a positive way with them for a while and then reach out and see if you can have a zoom chat to introduce yourself. Ask questions that their expertise can lend itself to so that they appreciate interacting with you as well. It will be a lot easier to get opportunities with a friend than from someone who doesn’t know you.
Why should they choose you?
Contract awardees are released to public record so you are able to find out who was chosen for contracts that you would be a good fit for. Research your competition. Find out what they have been awarded and develop a pitch of what makes you exceptional in comparison to them. You can find this by using your PSC (product service code) in the FPDS.gov archives. Once you find out the agencies that will want what you are selling, and identify who also does this same work, you can refine your presentation to your buyer to include why you are the best solution to the problem.
Because you put in the work, you will reap the reward. It is always best to be respectful and never diminish another business in this interaction. Remember, you have already developed a friendly exchange with this agency, so now make them an offer they can’t refuse!
Going the extra mile and doing research before you engage will benefit you greatly in your contract pursuits. Showing that you actually care about their mission and how you can be a support to them will help you stand out!